Book Review: The Rise of Io

Publication Date: October 4, 2016

Author: Wesley Chu

Publisher: Angry Robot

It has been a while since I’ve read some fresh, yet deep, science fiction.

And let me stop here. Deep. This is what I’d expect from the author who gave us the Time Salvager series, and of course, The Lives of Tao. I dare say that today’s book is even more immersive and thought-provoking.

We are introduced to the protagonist, Ella, who is a thief and a con artist. One night, she stumbles upon a violent attack against a woman and her partner. She intervenes, but the woman dies, and upon her death an alien living within her decides to use Ella as the new host.

Now the most interesting part is when we see what the alien has to say. The strange being has thoughts, fears, obsessions and even an inferiority complex! It is this take that makes the book worth spending the night with, just to see what the alien is up to next with our protagonist.

That’s not to say that Ella is some forgettable character. In fact, she is one of Mr. Chu’s most genuine protagonists to date. A thief that cares about people. A smuggler who has a lot of humanity within her. An excellent example of how to break the Mary Sue mould.

The book’s pace is brisk. The starting scene itself should tell you this, while at the same time giving you glimpses of what the characters are like and their strengths and weaknesses. The world building is — as usual — incredible.
Verdict? The book is a must read, even you hate science fiction. Thank you very much, Mr. Chu.

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